Rupert Murdoch attacks Malcolm Turnbull over changes to media ownership laws

2014 NRL Grand Final. Photo: Getty Images

News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch has used Twitter to berate communications minister Malcolm Turnbull over his proposed media ownership policy.

In a tweet to more than 500,000 followers, Murdoch was none too pleased that his pay tv operation Foxtel didn’t receive any concessions, while free-to-air companies will benefit from a relaxation of ownership rules.

Turnbull’s planned policy changes will grant newspapers, television and radio networks greater opportunity for mergers and content sharing and at the same time protect the rights of free-to-air station’s sports coverage.

Turnbull submitted his plans to Prime Minister Tony Abbott in private last week.

Under the proposed legislation changes Channel Nine, Seven and Ten’s current limited coverage reach of 75% of Australians will be abolished to make way for possible mergers between these metro stations and their regional affiliates. The new laws aim to assist media companies to compete with newer unregulated digital enterprises, such as streaming service Netflix.

The AFR reports Turnbull denied Foxtel’s request for additional access to sports events coverage reserved for free-to-air stations. This means Foxtel may have to pay a fee to the media networks to re-transmit broadcasts.

Current anti-siphoning laws guarantee Seven, Nine and Ten first rights to broadcast more than 1300 sporting events.

Over the weekend News Corp Australia boss Julian Clarke said “we do not support any change if it involves cherrypicking some policies and only changing these”, adding that any legislation adjustment “must severely reduce the length of of the outdated anti-siphoning list”.

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